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Bartenders’ night out: New York City

Just got into town? Steal insider recs from Top Hops Beer Shop bartender Faith Hinkson.
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Faith Hinkson at Top Hops Beer Shop / Photo by Matt Furman

Faith Hinkson at Top Hops Beer Shop / Photo by Matt Furman

Just got into town? Steal insider recs from the guys and gals behind some of the country’s best beer bars. Here’s where a dialed-in, NYC-based bartender drinks, eats and hangs on her nights off:

“My favorite area is actually the Lower East Side; it’s pretty young and hip with new things happening most of the time down there. I’d start at Verlaine for a great happy hour; get the Lychee Martini. It’s more like a lounge, pretty romantic, and a cool place for starting with something more mellow. As far as dinner goes, I’d recommend Mission Chinese on East Broadway. It has a wide-ranging menu, things that are really cheap and really expensive. There are plenty of rare and obscure menu items. A lot of times I don’t know what they are, so I have the waitress pick for me, and it’s always amazing. Plus, they have a really cool ‘Twin Peaks’-themed bathroom. It’s like a Chinese buffet on acid. The restaurant can have a pretty long wait on the weekend, so sometimes I stop in 169 Bar right next door for a whiskey before dinner. The decor is really cool; it’s tiki, with different colored lights and palm trees.  The crowd never disappoints; it’s very eclectic: Bikers, frat guys, everyone goes there. If you’re with someone who wants beer or liquor, Fools Gold has a full bar and 30 taps; two are whiskey. It’s really cool, dark and quiet.  Oftentimes when I go there, they have Hill Farmstead on tap, which I always get, of course. For live music, Arlene’s Grocery is great: They book a lot of smaller, local bands that are known in their genre. The booker does a really good job of finding talent, so even if you wander in for a band you haven’t heard of before, you’ll leave a fan. That’s happened to me a few times. On Mondays, they do karaoke with a live rock band, which is so much fun.  I have some friends who bartend there, and they only have five or six martini glasses; every time someone orders a martini, everyone at the bar wants one, too. It’s hilarious. So, don’t go there for martinis. There are a few arcades around, but the one I like is Ace Bar on Essex. There’s a bar with taps and cocktails, and a lot of different video games; you can play pool there, like a lot of places, but Skee-Ball?  That’s pretty great.  For late night, I hit up Los Feliz; the downstairs lounge has a great dance floor where the DJ spins, but you can go upstairs if the music isn’t playing and have a conversation. They also have a huge list of tequilas, which is a great way to end the night.”
-Faith Hinkinson, Top Hops Beer Shop

 


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